Well-connected Romney related to 6 U.S. presidents

WASHINGTON Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:52pm EST

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney greets voters at a ''We the People Freedom Forum'' in Hudson, New Hampshire December 11, 2011.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney greets voters at a ''We the People Freedom Forum'' in Hudson, New Hampshire December 11, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is distantly related to six past presidents, including George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush and Franklin D. Roosevelt, genealogists said on Tuesday

Online database Ancestry.com released a report showing the former Massachusetts governor also has ties to Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Pierce and Herbert Hoover through an English landowner who lived in the 1500s.

Odd political lineage is not new. The website has found far-away family connections linking Obama to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and George W. Bush, his 11th cousin.

"It's not exceptional to be related to a president, not at all," said Gary Boyd Roberts, a researcher at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. "Most of us are related to a dozen, half dozen presidents."

Because of the long history of intermarriage among immigrant groups in the United States, Americans with colonial links in their family history could on average be related to six or seven former presidents, he said.

Romney is well connected because of the number of presidents who have come from New England where his earliest U.S. ancestors migrated to in the 1600s.

"His family has very deep American roots," said Anastasia Harman, lead family historian for Ancestry.com.

Roberts said Romney could actually be related to as many as 15 presidents, including Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. He can also claim a distant relation to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and Mormon settlers, Roberts said.

"It's a typical but wonderful story ... . It captures a lot of strands of world history that we all represent," he said.

The report from Ancestry.com found that Republican hopeful and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is also related to the Bush presidents, Roosevelt and Coolidge.

Texas Governor Rick Perry is only related to Harry Truman, according to the research. The site had not studied former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, the main rival of Romney in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. (Editing by Xavier Briand)

(Reporting By Lily Kuo)

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